This is an age-old question for content marketers and blog owners: which article format drives the most engagement? The answer is list posts. Out of all kinds of articles, list posts get the most reads, shares, and comments. BuzzFeed, whose articles go viral on the daily, is filled to the brim with lists.
The list article should live up to your reader’s expectations, draw them in with emotive content and offer something that other types of content may not: some great take away points with minimal filler. Even those that hate the listicle would have to begrudgingly admit that list posts do get a lot of clicks and a lot of shares. Here are 9 reasons why lists are so effective.
1. Your reader knows exactly what they’re getting
Your readers are going to get bite-sized pieces of information, which they will love. If your content doesn’t match the title, they will get annoyed. Make sure to keep it on topic. Popular clickbait titles help to lure the reader to see what’s inside – such as “Did Donald Trump Just Secure His Place As The 2016 Front-Runner?” These articles usually just speculate on rumors and give the reader no useful information. This leaves them irritated rather than informed. You need to avoid this at all costs.
2. Readers can just skim the article
People are busy. Attention spans are low. Readers are browsing content quickly while they’re supposed to be doing actual work. List posts make it easy for your readers to quickly skim articles, reading interesting points and forgetting the rest.
3. You don’t have to read it all at once
Since we’re constantly getting distracted - “Ooo! New follower on Instagram! Email from my boss!” - list articles are perfect for reading sporadically throughout the day. You can read a bit, do some work, and pick up the rest later.
4. The reader assumes they’re bound to find at least one useful point
Even if the reader already knows the subject of the article inside and out, they will still be compelled to click through. They will want to see if there is anything they may have missed. If they don’t find anything new, they will feel like accomplished experts – as long as your points aren’t too basic.
5. Content retention is boosted
It has been shown that organizing data into lists affects people’s ability to recall the information. If you want to make a lasting impact on your reader, list articles make perfect sense. This is part of the reason why people write to-do lists in the first place. They break everything down in an easy-to-remember manner.
6. People love organization
Organized pages look nicer and feel more inviting. Most people don’t want to read giant 1,000-word blocks of text. Readers in the modern world want to be able to find the information they really want to know
7. They’re easy to create
Writing on one topic for 800 words can be difficult, but when it’s broken up into 9 different points? That’s a much more manageable task.
8. They improve your SEO
According to BuzzSumo’s statistics from 2014, list articles are known to be shared more than any other type of content, excluding infographics. More shares mean more clickthrough traffic from other readers, which means a boost in your SEO ratings.
9. Picture list posts are even better
A picture tells a thousand words. Pictures captive the eye and can explain more in a split second than 5 lines of text can do. In fact, using visual aids in learning can help to improve retention by as much as 400%. Readers feel like they are getting more value from the article when pictures are used alongside each list item’s text.
Grab you audience’s attention – and hold it – with a numbered list post. Carefully curate each point with quality content and you will find website visitors curious to see what other gems they can find by clicking through to your other pages.
Have any more theories on why list posts still rule? Think there’s about to be a new contender for the throne? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.
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